US company Northrop Grumman was awarded $3.29 billion to develop a missile defense system. It could potentially be used to protect the entire US territory from ballistic missiles. It is a weapons contract with Mission Defence Agency.
As part of the agreement, the system should also include the ability to supply a ground-based missile defense system. This system will be able to destroy ballistic missiles in the midcourse (GMD). Furthermore, it is known that the GMDis the only deployed system that can protect the entire territory of the United States from long-range ballistic missiles. Currently, the interceptors are located in California and Alaska.
The effort will include enhancing and upgrading the GMD’s capability to go up against evolving threats, according to Scott Lehr, Northrop’s vice president of launch and missile defense systems. “GWS is part of Northrop Grumman’s land and sea-based missile defense systems that are enabled by our advanced missile warning and tracking space satellites,” he said in the statement. “Together, we are delivering end-to-end capabilities that will protect the United States and its allies.” The program will take current ground system components of the GMD system, and through “proven digital transformation processes,” Northrop will update and modernize legacy code, add capabilities and incorporate the Next-Generation Interceptor when it comes online, it said.
A Northrop and Raytheon Technologies team is competing against a Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne team to replace the GMD’s Ground-Based Interceptors with NGIs. There are 44 GBIs in silos buried in the ground at Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The system also includes ground control stations, detection, and fire control systems, and other support infrastructure. The GWS program team will primarily be located in Huntsville, Alabama.
The Northrop contract is a step toward revamping how the GMD system is managed and was part of an MDA effort to inject competition into the required modernization and sustainment of the system. “I will tell you that our lead system integrator does a great job today and the partnerships with industry within that construct do a great job, but we think that it’s so large and complex we should be doing everybody a favor by being able to split that up without losing the integration among all those pieces so our intent is to move in that direction,” Vice Adm. Jon Hill, MDA’s director said in 2020 when he announced the plan to hold a competition that would divide up the work needed for GMD modernization and sustainment.